Saturday, December 15, 2018

Nashville battlefield today: A visit to Redoubt No. 3 site

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Colonel Sylvester Hill,
killed at Nashville'
on Dec. 15, 1864.
In overrunning Redoubt No, 3 during the Battle of Nashville on Dec. 15, 1864, Union Colonel Sylvester Hill’s III Brigade swept through a playground, overturning children’s slides and ruining a garden at the Calvary United Methodist Church. (Sarcasm alert.) Once countryside south of Nashville, the battlefield long ago was lost to urban development. The church was built in the late 1940s.

Of the five redoubts constructed by John Bell Hood’s Army of Tennessee in the countryside south of Nashville, only traces of Nos. 1, 3 and 4 survive. A marker along Hillsboro Pike once noted the site of Redoubt No. 3, but it was damaged when it was struck by a car several years ago and never replaced.

No marker here notes the fate of the 44-year-old Hill, a married father of two children. The colonel was killed in his brigade's attack near the  modern-day United Methodist Church and across from the long-ago obliterated Redoubt No. 2 site.

Every so often, Calvary United Methodist parishioners receive a reminder of the significance of the land their church was built upon. “We have had sermons about how a battlefield was turned into a church,” church archivist Dave Nichols told me. “This is a place where people were killed that has been turned into a place of peace.”

A war-time illustration of the attack at Redoubt No. 3 during the Battle of Nashville depicts the moment
 Colonel Sylvester Hill (on horse) was wounded. (CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE.)

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